How to Help Develop a Love of Reading in Your Child

Reading is the most fundamental skill needed for school success. If you are able to develop a love of reading in your child at an early age, you have set the stage for success in school.

Infants can be exposed to reading. Sitting together and looking at a book is an early step in teaching your child what it is like to read for pleasure. As your child becomes older, allow her to pick out the books that are of interest. Sometimes this may mean reading the same book over ten times! This is okay because it shows that she is making the connection between pictures and print, as well as engaging in something that is enjoyable for her.

When you read aloud with your child, stop and ask ques­tions periodically during the story. This helps develop memory skills and increases comprehension. By using books with lots of illustrations, you can then ask your child to go back and "read" the story to you. Although she is relying totally on the pictures, she is making the connection that a book carries a message.

Let your child see you reading for pleasure and informa­tion. Whether books, newspapers, or magazines, it is important to let your child see you spend time reading. You may wish to set up a "reading time" in the evening. Spend some time reading to your child, and use the remainder of the time for individual reading. What great role models you are if your child is exposed both Mom and Dad reading!

As your five year old begins to develop a basic sight vocabulary, read books, like those by Dr. Seuss, which present rhymes and word families. As you read, point out the different words to her. To foster early reading skills, point out letters of the alphabet to your child. Use alphabet blocks or magnetic letters to help your child spell out words in which she is interested. Make an alphabet letter book, and cut out pictures from magazines that go with each letter. By the time most children enter school, they can recite the alphabet and identify most uppercase letters. Point out letters or words on signs in the neigborhood, or ask your child to find a certain letter.

Encourage drawing and writing skills. As your child prates" on a page, ask her what it says. By age five, children pave a good understanding that the written word has meaning, follow your child to make her own grocery list and take it to me store with her. Let your child open mail and read it aloud to her.

The knowledge that written words carry a message is the most important skill your child can learn. Each child reads and writes at her own rate. Some children are more interested in Beading than others, which affects how quickly they learn. By providing exposure, a stimulating environment, and praise for whatever she is able to do, your child can develop these skills pt her own pace.

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